Prayer & Fasting
Part 1 - Pastor Gerald
 
WHAT IS FASTING?  
 
Fasting is a spiritual discipline that is taught in the Bible. Jesus expected His followers to fast, and as we will see He rewards fasting.  
 
Fasting, according to the Bible, means to voluntarily reduce or eliminate something from your life for a period of time. We normally think of fasting as relating to food but it could be that you choose to fast from being on Facebook an hour a day for three weeks, or choose to not play golf or watch football for a period of time and purpose.  
 
Jesus gave this guidance, “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.Matthew 6:16-18 (NKJV).  
 
WHY FAST?  
 
There are many good reasons, and even health benefits, for fasting. However, our 21 Days of Fasting and Prayer is for three primary reasons:  
 
1. Fasting gives you more time for prayer.  
You can use the time you'd normally spend eating, or on Facebook or watching TV as time in prayer for what God wants to do among us during this emphasis of fasting and prayer.  
 
In the Bible, fasting is always connected with prayer.  
 
“As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away. Acts 13:2-3 (NKJV)  
 
2. Fasting demonstrates the depth of our desire.  
It shows you that you are serious enough about your prayer request to pay a personal price. God honors deep desire and praying in faith.
 
“Now, therefore,” says the Lord, “Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” So rend your heart and not your garments… Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; Blow the trumpet in Zion, consecrate a fast, call a sacred assembly. Joel 2:12-16 (NKJV)
 
 
3. Fasting releases God's supernatural power.  
It is a weapon of spiritual warfare we can use when there is opposition to God's will. Satan would like nothing better than to cause division, discouragement, defeat, depression, and doubt among us. United prayer and fasting has always been used by God’s people to deal a decisive blow to the enemy! "So we fasted and entreated our God for this, and He answered our prayer." Ezra 8:23 (NKJV).  
 
And again in Isaiah 58 our Heavenly Father says,”Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? " Isaiah 58:6 (NKJV)
 
TWO CAUTIONS
  1. Remember that fasting is not "earning" an answer to prayer. God is not a Heavenly candy machine where we drop in a quarter (participate in a time of fasting and prayer) and pull out an answer. God wants to answer our prayers and He answers out of grace. Fasting simply prepares us for God's answer.  
  2. Fast only if your health allows it at this time. It may be that you are able to do only a partial fast - do it in faith and God will honor your intentions.